Disney’s Secret Formula

Okay, I’ll be the second test subject.

So, watching the same Disney movies with my son today as I did when I was little with my parents, not only do I notice a lot more but I also feel like Disney always used this formula. And how strange it was that I happened to be watching Hercules while pondering on this first discussion question of ours. In “The Hero’s Journey” defined it points out the human is usually male, starts from lowly beginnings and has some kind of super power. He had a call to action from Meg, the damsel in distress as well as the town and his want to return to Olympia fueled him even more.

He definitely went through the stages, the Call to Adventure when the town kept saying he didn’t belong and he fled to find where he belonged. He was always an outcast because of his strength, but wasn’t quite sure how to use it yet. When he was first told he was the kid of Zeus, he didn’t believe he was a God that had been (intervened by supernatural powers) the two funny-looking demons from Hades, the leader of the Underworld had been sent to kill him with a death potion but didn’t get every last drop in to him so Hercules’ super natural strength remained.

Then he comes to the crossing of the first threshold, where he meets Phil, half goat and half man, Zeus had told him to seek out with the help of Pegasus, a flying horse. He then went into the intiation phase, training to be that hero that the world needed, fighting every monster that came his way. Then even going into the Underworld when his lover, Meg was about to die to retrieve her soul. This was the act of return, when Hercules could finally become a god again.

Other Disney movies that could be related to this off the top of my head, Mulan (which goes against the grain a little because in fact — the hero is a woman.. but like in the “The Hero’s Journey” defined while she does not go looking for her prince or love, she does find one in her quest to save China and her elderly father. Another one would be, Robin Hood or even the animal type of hero, Oliver and Company where the hero dog helps a homeless cat and eventually a lonely little girl. Oh! What about my favorite Disney movie, All Dogs Go To Heaven, a lying, thieving German Shepherd named Charlie stops his ways and saves a little girl and finds him and his best friend, a wiener dog a loving home. Want to know how much I love that movie? I have a German Shepherd named Charlie with a red collar just like in the movie. I’m working on the wiener dog with my husband.

2. I feel like a lot of the movies today are just plain crazy. Don’t get me wrong, there is a good one out every now and then. And I’m not just talking Disney movies. I am talking about the typical movies. Ranging from Saw and all the other movies I feel give people that take movies a little too seriously a little bit too much to think about. There are the good ones that came from book series though, like the Harry Potter movies (maybe I should get a dog named Harry Potter? — seriously love this series) or the Lord of the Rings. But I feel like a lot of movies that I have seen or seen previews for not based on book series, like the movie (forgive me I can’t remember the name) but it has Taraji P Henson in it, follows the script like all the other movies, especially with African Americans. Woman falls in love because she’s a single parent and she’s lonely. Guy acts like he loves her. Guy goes crazy. Beats her and her child. She makes a come back and he goes to jail. Whoop de doo, seriously nothing I haven’t seen on the screen at least three times. It is no longer original and maybe that is because they are following the formula a little too much. They can’t fit any of the human needs entirely because screen writers are too focused on the drama that some people may or may not have in everyday life, that they forget to put in the needs of belonging to a society, or the world or even situations that just plain don’t make any sense. Really…paranormal activity…really?

3 thoughts on “Disney’s Secret Formula

  1. jtodd

    I agree that some movies have been overdone and lose their ability to promote any thinking of who we are, why we are here, and what place we play in the world. In today’s world people demand more and more out of their entertainment and fail to put any of themselves into it. So producers and directors are spewing out the same thing over and over or going so far off the realm of possibility that there is no way we can learn about ourselves, our society or our world.

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  2. swhoke

    I believe that Disney, authors and film writers found this formula long ago. They found that it got people invested in their characters and made money. However I disagree with Jtodd’s comment where it states “going so far off the realm of possibility that there is no way we can learn about ourselves, our society or our world.”, as I believe that this constant regurgitation of the same information in a different view, with the craziness that seems to be defining modern cinema is telling us much about both ourselves and our society. Hollywood actors are high paid, because people watch their films, people are watching therefore people are connecting/interested in the craziness that is being filmed, as a person you either connect or you don’t, as a society for the most part we except that which is present on film as freedom.

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  3. Michaela

    It is scary too think that people actually get a kick out of watching the movies Saw. That is a perfect example of a movie that gives people way to much to think about. I don’t understand why society even needs those films. But it is true there are good films made from books like you said, the Harry Potter series was well done and many people enjoyed that. I also enjoyed the Chronicles of Narnia films and the Hunger Games movies, I love! There more Sci-Fi but I feel as if Sci-Fi movies give viewers thoughts to ponder about the future and what not.

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